Many Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialists (COMS) have been incorporating audio iOS games into O&M lessons. Why? These games can help with orientation skills in a variety of ways. Many of these games improve spatial concepts (where items, objects and sounds are in relationship to the user and in relationship to each other). Other games may improve localization skills, which can help students learn to localize traffic sounds and other environmental sounds. Some games help to reinforce terms/skills such as left and right, while other games might focus on cardinal directions. Other games may simply help students to “tune in” to sounds, especially environmental sounds; using environmental sounds for O&M purposes is a critical skill for efficient, independent travel.
Don’t forget about your students with low vision! These students often rely heavily on visual clues and forget to “tune in” and use environmental sounds.
Students thoroughly enjoy playing the auditory games; this can be a great motivator for completing O&M lessons in order to have time to play a game. Teaching students how to play a new auditory can be a fun “bad weather” O&M activity. Learning the VoiceOver commands to locate the game on the iOS device and to play the game are also technology skills that students can then transfer to more complex hi-tech O&M skills, such as using a GPS app or transportation app.
FYI: Did you know that spatial concepts are critical for O&M and math skills? As students develop strong O&M spatial concepts, they are also developing strong math spatial concepts!
Some of my favorite audio games that improve O&M skills are the series of Blindfold games. There are currently about 35 Blindfold Audio games and new games being released all the time! For general information about Blindfold Games, go to Marty’s Blog on Audio Games for the Blindness Community or, go to Blindfold Games home page.
To see the current list of Blindfold Games and a short description of these games, go to Blindfold Games List.
When playing audio games, be sure that your student has stereo earbuds/headphones and that these headphones are positioned correctly so that the right sounds are coming to the right ear and the left sounds are coming to the left ear. When teaching a student play these audio games, use a splitter so that two sets of earbuds/headphones can be used. (This allows the student and the COMS to both listen to the audio game.)
What audio games do you use for O&M purposes?
By Diane Brauner